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Social media buzzes over hand-holding mystery couple

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A Facebook post revealed deep community affection for a couple seen walking the same route for 28 years.

EAGAN, Minn. — This summer in Eagan, mosquitoes weren’t the only thing buzzing.

“Makes my heart smile every time,” one resident posted on the Eagan Neighbors Facebook page.

“They’re our favorite,” wrote another.

Page administrator Jennifer Peery watched as comment after comment landed on the site, and views reached the thousands.

“Eight-thousand views is a lot, I mean there’s only 12,000 people in the group,” Jennifer says.

All that attention, focused on this post:

To the sweet older couple who regularly walks their German Shephard while holding hands in the Town Centre area, thank you. For years I’ve noticed you while driving around Eagan and every time I do it fills my cup. #truelove #daymakers. 

The post was written by Heather Erickson, who’s been driving past the mystery hand-holding couple for years

“I always wonder, what’s their story? Who are they?” Heather told KARE 11. “Every time I see them, they’re holding hands. Every time.”

Within hours of posting, Jennifer found her answer among the dozens of responses to her post.

The mystery walkers were Bob and Pat Klecker, who had no idea they were being watched – and admired – while on their daily walks.

“Well, we were kind of surprised,” Bob says.

“Because it just seems pretty ordinary to us,” Pat adds.

Despite the eyeballs being cast in their direction, Bob and Pat aren’t holding hands for attention.

“We both were walkers and we started dating, started walking, doing our walks, kind of always held hands,” Bob says.

Bob and Pat started dating in 1988, eight years after first meeting at a church choir practice.

Thrity-two years after tying the knot, they continue stitching together their fingers at every opportunity.

“I guess if you’ve been doing it all along, it never gets uncomfortable,” Bob says.

He mentions the word soulmate. “A lot of people talk about that, but you’re really a lucky person if you actually find one,” he says.

So, with intertwining fingers, they walk, morning and afternoon, five miles a day — the same route for the past 28 years.

The only variable has been the German Shephard by their sides. Anya is their third.

“It’s just like this steadfast togetherness that gives me that warm feeling when I see them,” Heather says.

“They have absolutely no idea the impact they’re making on the community,” she says. “When I’m 70 or 80 years old, I want to still be that in love with my partner.”

Jennifer smiles, then adds, “I just love them, and I don’t even know them.”

At that point, her KARE 11 visitors mention that they happen to know Bob and Pat’s route and walking schedule, which is how she happened to be giving them hugs that very day on their afternoon walk.

“You guys are like our couple of Eagan,” she tells them. “We love it.”

In that moment, as both Bob and Pat hugged Jennifer, their hands came apart.

But then, seconds later, right back together – where they belong.

Ten fingers, making their way through life, as one.

Boyd Huppert is always looking for great stories to share in the Land of 10,000 Stories! Send us your suggestions by filling out this form:


Watch the latest videos from the Land of 10,000 Stories in our YouTube playlist and subscribe to the Land of 10,000 Stories Complete Collection on YouTube.

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Kare11

Grow with KARE: Three types of Lavender

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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — When deciding which type of lavender to add to your garden, the choice will likely be between three main types commonly found at garden centers. All have flowers that are gorgeous and make beautiful garden plants, but beyond that, each variety has special and specific traits.

English Lavenders: Generally sweet and used for culinary purposes. Everyone has different tastes, of course, but generally, the varieties to used for cooking are from the Lavandula angustifolia family, known as English lavender. Any English lavender cultivar will be flavorful. Try “Royal Velvet,” “Folgate,” “Melissa,” “Munstead”, or “Lady.”

French Lavenders: Also edible but isn’t usually used for culinary. They have a higher oil content which can make the lavender taste soapy to some. That trait makes French Lavender wonderful for distilling into essential oil. The stems are also longer, which are great for cuttings.

Spanish Lavenders: Not hardy enough to thrive outside in Minnesota, but you may find them at garden centers as topiaries. These will not grow back in our northern climate if planted in the ground and should be treated as an annual.



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Rainbow Health abruptly shuts down

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According to the organization’s website, Rainbow Health served 2,366 Minnesotans last year alone.

MINNEAPOLIS — A nonprofit organization that’s long served the state’s LGBTQ+ community abruptly closed Thursday, shocking both its staff and clients.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday, the organization announced the closure of Rainbow Health, saying:  “Due to insurmountable financial challenges, we can no longer sustain our operations.”

A similar message was shared with staff hours before the organization – that serves thousands of people across the state – closed its doors.

“We were told that Rainbow Health was insolvent and would be dissolving as of 5 p.m.,” said Ash Tifa, the program coordinator for Rainbow Health Legal Services.

According to the organization’s website, Rainbow Health served 2,366 Minnesotans last year alone. But workers say they work with tens of thousands of people within a marginalized community.

“Our organization serves thousands and thousands across Minnesota, with everything from case management, to therapy and telehealth, a pharmacy, housing support, rent checks, grocery money,” Tifa said, adding: “We’re the State’s largest AIDS-service organization.”

Tifa noted that the move comes just days after the organization’s CEO resigned following a unanimous vote of “No Confidence” by those workers who are represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa. And while the workers remain deeply concerned for their clients, they also have questions and concerns for a board they feel didn’t keep them in the loop or fulfill their contract.

In a statement posted to SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa, the union stated: “Despite contract language in the workers’ union contract as members of SEIU Healthcare MN & IA that requires 30 days advance notice of layoff to union-represented employees, workers found out just hours before the organization said it was closing its doors forever, with no explanation of what happened or what is next for the workers, clients or community.”

Amid all the turmoil, advocates are also urging clients to consider other community resources for care. 

In a statement, Shannah Mulvihill with Mental Health Minnesota, said:

“I am saddened to hear about the closure of Rainbow Health, which helped serve important needs in our LGBTQIA+ community. Unfortunately, many nonprofits are experiencing significant funding challenges right now, especially those providing direct services and care. Many Minnesotans who had relied on Rainbow Health may not know where to turn for help, but there is support available during this time.

Mental Health Minnesota’s Warmline provides peer support every day from 9 AM to 9PM if you need to talk, and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is open 24/7 if you’re struggling.

Minnesota Warmline (peer support)

Call: 855-WARMLINE (855-927-6546)

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The Trevor Project (LGBTQ support)



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Business owners oppose proposed homeless shelter in Uptown

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The shelter would offer medical respite services to homeless people. Local business owners and residents plan to oppose at the Planning Commission’s Aug. 12 meeting.

MINNEAPOLIS — For the last four years, Mattisse Johnson has operated #FACE, her day spa in Uptown, with the door locked.

“Because all day long we have people off the street who try to come in,” she said. “We have had people we’ve let in, thinking they’re here for good reasons, and they’ve stolen from us. In the middle of the day.”

Mattisse says she wants her business to stay at the corner of West Lake Street and Colfax , because she’s a believer in Uptown — and its recovery.

“I love Uptown because growing up in Minneapolis, this was the dream,” she said.

But a proposed homeless shelter right across the street has business owners banding together in opposition. 

“I think it would be great somewhere else. I just don’t think it belongs on a business corridor,” Johnson said.

“One more thing that’s going to impede the recovery of uptown,” said State Farm insurance agent Lawrence Thomas.

Thomas, whose office is right next door, feels the same as Matisse — that homeless services are needed but that the location is not appropriate.

“And I feel like these conversations, if they’re uncomfortable, I get it. But they need to be had,” Thomas said.

The proposal before the Minneapolis Panning Commission is from Lakeshore Care Inc, a company formed in March. 

Its project description says they plan to “offer temporary, supportive care for individuals recovering from illnesses or medical procedures.”

Lakeshore Care told KARE 11 News they have a medical team with decades of experience to offer respite care.

They want that particular location for proximity to healthcare providers, accessibility, and community integration..

And they plan to address safety concerns in part with security patrols and not allowing clients to “loiter or wander aimlessly”

In this week’s meeting several people spoke out.  Local business owner Andrea Corbin from the Uptown Association and Lynnlake Association says residents are weighing in as well.

“It’s everybody that lives and works in this area,” Corbin said.

The next step in this process is the Minneapolis Planning Commission will hold a hearing on August 12.



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